Introduction : “La vie sociale des papiers d’identité en Afrique” / “The social life of IDs in Africa”

Séverine Awenengo Dalberto & Richard Banégas

In the context of a global biometric turn, the book presented in the web series investigates processes of identification in Africa “from below”, asking what this means for the relationship between citizens and the state. Almost half of the population of the African continent is thought to lack a legal identity, and many states see biometric technology as a reliable and efficient solution to the problem. However, this book shows that biometrics, far from securing identities and minimizing fraud or political distrust, can even participate in reinforcing exclusion and polarising debates on citizenship and national belonging. It highlights the social and political embeddedness of legal identities and the resilience of the documentary state. Several contributors to this edited volume present their personal research and contributions, through short videos.

Web series directed by Audrey Gallet, 2021

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